Do You Need Planning Permission?

imagesAre you sure that you need planning permission for your proposed project?

Many people assume that they do need planning permission when in fact they don’t need it, and its because they haven’t checked properly in the first instance.

In general, permission is not required for projects that do not alter the outward appearance of a building. Examples would be some types of loft conversion or basement, the replacement of a floor or ceiling and the conversion of a garage into a living space.

However, if the work involves the enlargement of the property or the addition of doors and windows, then there may be a requirement for permission and, in these cases, you should always check with your local planning department before proceeding with any changes to your property.

Planning permission should not be confused with building regulations, however; almost all of the above would require building regulations approval from the building control services department of your local authority or from an authorised inspector.  This is to ensure any building work you carry out is of the standard required by law.

If Permission Is Needed – How Do I Obtain It?

Architectural PlansYour Local authority planning department would usually be your first port of call but there is now an interesting alternative, which is an altogether easier online planning application service!

This superb new Internet portal, to be found at is a government sponsored resource that is designed to help you all along the way in securing planning permission where it is needed.

Not only that, if it turns out that permission is not needed, the resources in the portal will tell you so, and you’ll avoid unnecessary fees, time and extra work.

If, on the other hand, permission is required then you can use the planning portal to begin the planning process, calculate the fees that are likely to be involved and start the planning – quickly and efficiently (as in most things in the digital age!).

So, What Exactly is the Planning Process?

We will cover the process in more detail in a later article but the main elements of a planning application are as follows:

  • Complete and submit the standard application form, N.B. most planning applications require two plans to be submitted as supporting documents, these are:
  • A location plan – which should show the site layout, its area and its surrounding context. You can obtain this from one of the planning portal’s approved suppliers and attach it to the application
  • A site plan also known as a block plan – this shows the proposed development in detail and can be obtained from one of the Portal’s accredited suppliers.
  • A Certificate of Ownership must be completed confirming the ownership of the property.
  • An Agricultural Holdings Certificate – needed whether or not the site includes an agricultural holding.
  • Design and access statement, if required, which outlines how issues relating to access to the development have been dealt with.
  • And lastly  you must pay the correct application fee. You can calculate the correct fee for your application using the free fee calculator included on the planning portal.